Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Benedict's Wayzata

Benedict's is a brunch only place that opened in late 2017 in Wayzata. Considering how close by it is, I have not heard much about it.

John had the standard, which is two eggs with bacon, potatoes and toast. It was your basic breakfast. Not bad.

I had the egg sandwich, topped with egg, sausage, harissa, cheese and bacon jam. The sausage was ok, the English muffin was very light and fluffy and the bacon jam really made the sandwich. The hash browns had scallions mixed in to give it addition flavor and the potatoes were very finely shredded. I quite liked the hash browns.

The food was quite good, but it took quite some time to arrive and our server was either too busy or rather slow. We waited for beverage refills a few times and it took a very long time for the check to be delivered. So I guess the not great service may explain why I haven't heard great things about Benedict's. Hopefully, things improve with time.

845 Lake St E
Wayzata, MN 55391
Phone: (952) 923-1903

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Red Rabbit brunch

John signed up for Red Rabbit's eClub recently, so we visited for Saturday brunch. You get a coupon for $10 off upon joining. We arrived just prior to noon and were seated right away. It did fill up quite a bit more by the time we departed. I guess North Loop brunches late.

I had the ham and cheese with grilled ham, mushrooms, arugula and triple creme, with grilled bread and a waffle hash brown. The waffle hash brown is just what it sounds like and it was a great combination of crispy and softer bits of potato. The grilled bread was excellent as it had a bit of smoky flavor.
John hasn't stopped raving about how good this waffle was. I'm told the waffle was very light and fluffy and the berries were fresh with great flavor. He added a side order of bacon as well. The bacon was thick cut and had nice smoky flavor. I was granted a small bite, but the waffle was gone before I got a nibble.

The service was helpful and attentive once more and the food was amazing. John has been talking about how good the waffle was ever since, so I am sure we will be going back very soon.

Brunch is available Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 2pm.

Red Rabbit
201 N Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: (612) 767-8

Friday, February 9, 2018

Eggy's DIner

We had noticed Eggy's Diner when we went down to Lakes and Legend's brewing, and I noticed it was also in our Metro Dining Club punch card deals, so we gave it a try for breakfast recently. It is down near Loring Park, but it should be noted that they do validate parking in the attached parking ramp, so it is easy to visit. Apparently, there is another location of Eggy's somewhere in Chicago, so it is a very small chain.

We arrived fairly early for brunch on a Sunday morning and were seated promptly. We had a bit of a wait before the server realized we were her table, but after that the service was ok.

I had Eggy's breakfast sandwich topped with 2 eggs over medium, bacon, mixed greens, red onion jam and herb aioli on a toasted bun. It was messy with the over medium eggs, but very tasty. The onion jam was delicious.
John had the two eggs with meat of bacon, egg whites, breakfast potatoes and a pancake. The breakfast potatoes are whole mini potatoes that are deep fried. They were good with crispy bits and fluffy soft bits and even better with some hot sauce added.
John liked the pancake, it was quite large and very light and fluffy.

With the discount form the Metro Dining Club, this was a very affordable breakfast. The service and food quality was good and I think I'd like to try a few more items on the menu. The food, along with the validated parking in the attached ramp, makes it easy to get to, which is sometimes a challenge in Minneapolis.

Eggy's Diner
120 W 14th St
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Phone: (763) 310-3449

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Portillo's Maple Grove

I was fortunate enough to notice an email to Portillo's for a preview meal the week before their opening to the public. I snagged a time that worked for us and got confirmation via email and regular mail. The meal was free with a donation to a local charity.

We arrived to a packed parking lot and a line out the door, but the line moved very quickly. They had people writing the orders down so once you got to the register, the order just had to be input. The food took about 10 minutes to be ready, but by then I had managed to find a place to sit.

The food is not particularly photogenic, but it tasted a lot better than it looked. I had the Italian beef sandwich with cheese and hot peppers added. The cheese was shredded cheddar and a little sparse. The peppers really added flavor to the sandwich and I did ask it to be dipped in gravy. IT made the bun soggy, but added more flavor. The beef was tender, but didn't have a ton of flavor. I also had cheese fires that come with a small container of melted cheese, which tasted better than it looked. The crinkle fries were were good though.
John had the Maxwell Street Polish sausage topped with grilled onions. He said it looked a little burnt, but it tasted like the one he had in Chicago last time we visited. It is a spicier sausage.

Overall, the visit went much better than I expected. The service was fast, friendly and professional. They should be ready for the hordes to descend when they open to the public! We look forward to going back regularly.

12251 Elm Creek Blvd N
Maple Grove, MN 55369
Phone: (763) 316-0860

Friday, February 2, 2018

Lord Fletcher's Old Lake Lodge

I found a Groupon awhile ago for Fletcher's and we thought we'd give it a try since we've never tried the more formal main dining room. We visited on a showy evening and it wasn't too busy, but not empty either.
I tried the walleye dinner served with chef’s vegetable of broccoli and au gratin potatoes. The walleye was breaded, pan fried and topped with toasted almonds. The walleye was quite good, as was the au gratin potatoes. The broccoli had a lot of peppers mixed in, which I didn't care for.
John had the beef fried rice bowl topped with 4 oz teres major. He said the rice was pretty salty, but the steak was prepared as requested.

The food overall was average, but we did find the service to be very attentive throughout our meal. I'm not sure we were impressed enough to go back again anytime soon though, even with the deal from Groupon covering most of the meal.

Lord Fletcher's Old Lake Lodge
3746 Sunset Dr
Spring Park, MN 55384
Phone:  (952) 471-8513

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Burch Steak

We went back to Burch steak for our annual holiday dinner. I don't think we'd made it back since we went for our anniversary a couple years ago. We had a reservation and were seated promptly.

We started with the seared scallops with lemongrass aioli. They were nicely seared and the aioli added a bright, fresh flavor.
The marlin crudo with coconut, cilantro and chili oil was very fresh and light. We both loved the and would order it again.
The first of our sides was the roasted carrots with thyme and chèvre. These reminded me of the carrots at Bar la Grassa and were very flavorful and delicious.
At the recommendation of our server for a potato we went with the pommes purée with poutine and horseradish. The potatoes were actually quite mild and did not have strong horseradish flavor.
For our steak, we tried the grass fed Manhattan cut steak. It looked a bit overdone at first glance, but was prepared correctly once we cut into it. The meat was tender, but a little dry. I don't think we'd go with the cut again.

We enjoyed our meal a lot and found the service to be great throughout our visit. We really need to go back and try the pizza from the bar in the basement bar area. I guess we tend to forget about Burch as it is on the edges of Uptown, but not quite downtown. It is definitely worth the trip!

Burch Steak
1933 Colfax Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 843-1515

Thursday, January 18, 2018


I seriously thought we’ve talked about Kincaid’s before. We’ve been to the one in Bloomington, but apparently it has been a long time before I was keeping track. Anyway, we visited with friends before a concert in St Paul recently and really enjoyed the meal.

I had made a reservation some time in advance and had no trouble getting in. We had a great table in an alcove toward the back, so if we were loud at all, we did not disturb anyone. The restaurant was quite busy, but not overly so, and we were seated as soon as we arrived.

I had the scallops seared with asiago and risotto in the center of the plate. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the risotto was excellent.

John had the ahi tuna with coconut crust served on rice. Both entrees were very good. All of the food came out in a timely manner even though they were quite busy.

The service was great and we had plenty of time to settle up the bill and make it to our show with plenty of time to spare.

380 St Peter St
St Paul, MN 55102
Phone: (651) 602-9000

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Las Vegas Trip Report 11.23-27.2017 - The one with good food but no major wins

We went to Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend once more. It is a good time to visit as everything is on the quieter side and nothing is too busy. On this trip the weather was wonderful too! It got up to 80 almost every day and only down to the 60s in the evenings.

Out flight was on Sun Country again and everything was on time and went smoothly. We had the pleasure of being seated next to a guy with a dog in a bag under the seat in front of him. Other than than dog trying to open the bag and escape at one point, it was very well behaved. My only gripe with Sun Country is that flying out of Terminal 2 at MSP is not as much fun as the main terminal. There are a lot fewer dining and drinking options and yes, the security lines are always short, but we have TSA pre-check so that is a non-factor for us.

On arrival in Las Vegas we took Lyft to the Mirage for our first two nights. I had booked it as a two night MyVegas comp, so we had a standard room. I tried the $20 trick, but the front desk person only wanted to offer us paid upgrades. After a bit of deliberation we took the upgrade for $20 more a night to the Resort Tower King as it had a larger bathroom and the elevators that only service 2 floors.

We had a nice pool and partial strip view, but I couldn't get a good photo from the room. Also, the front desk person gave us a $40 resort credit, so the upgrade was basically a wash, plus tip. The room was nice, so we were happy with the upgrade.

After changing and unpacking a bit, we went down to the casino and had a couple MyVegas BOGO drink comps put on our cards as well as free play. We had drinks at Parlour bar,  the Center bar and did our free play, with no wins to report, and then went to Heritage Steak for a snack.

jalapeno biscuits and beef jerky were complimentary
The shrimp cocktail were phenomenal. Great flavor to the shrimp even without the cocktail sauce. These need to be ordered again!
pork belly
hand cut fries

We just sat at the bar and found the service to be pretty good, not great. The food was good and it hit the spot. 

After eating, we went over to TI to play some blackjack. We learned to be more careful when selecting tables as not all of them offer 3:2 blackjack. No wins to report and a lot of terrible players were at the tables. Not sure what time we called it a night, I don't think it was too late. 

Seriously, what's with all the dumb puppet shows?! 

Thursday we set an alarm to make sure we were up bright and early for the Vikings Detroit game. There was a bit of a line at The Pantry, so I got to show my gold Mlife card and cut the line. Only time I have ever used that for anything, good thing it was a free Mlife upgrade with my Hyatt credit card.
All American breakfast for John
I had the veggie Benedict

All of the food was really good and we could see TVs from the table with the game on, but we did finish breakfast right as the game was beginning so we moved to the sports book.
We got some coffee and watched the game from some sofas behind the bar. Around half time we moved over to the bar and played some video poker as well. We made friends with the Detroit fans and some guy from Chicago and had fun chatting with them. Vikings win!
After the game we walked over to the Venetian.
We had lunch at Yardbird. The fried chicken was excellent as always. No wait at all for a table. 
John had the chicken and biscuits with a side of fries to share. 
After lunch, we wandered through the Venetian Palazzo casino and decided to go over to Ellis Island for some slot play and blackjack. I believe we took Lyft from Palazzo as the shade ride pickup area is not as far away form everything. I don't think I won a darn thing at EI, but we had fun using our assorted coupons and I got a free T-shirt.
We stopped back to the hotel to change clothes and freshen up for the evening and took a Lyft to Mandarin Oriental to check out the Mandarin bar at last. This has been on our to do list for ages now. I suspect the addition of Pepper the robot really motivated this visit, but we did not see the robot at all.
My drink was a hockey themed Vegas Golden Knights drink
John had a Mandarinita
The view from the bar really is amazing, especially at night! Highly recommend visiting. The drinks are expensive, but you do get a tray of bar snacks to nibble on at each table. Seems to be a popular thing at the expensive bars and it is a thing I like a lot.

We had some time to waste before our dinner reservation at Beauty and Essex at the Cosmopolitan so we walked over there and hang out in the sports book for awhile.
We did a Thanksgiving tasting menu starting with the tomato soup with grilled cheese dumplings. This was amazing! Can't recommend trying this dish enough.
tuna poke
Buratta and avocado, lemon and espelette both from the jewels on toast section of the menu.
kale salad
turkey dinner with stuffing and green beans- this was just ok, all of the prior dishes were much better
Beauty and Essex was pretty good, but the dining room was super dark and really very loud music playing. I'm not sure I loved it, but I am glad we tried it. The service throughout our meal was quite good too.

We were really tired after dinner, but we still had a bunch of drink vouchers left over from playing video poker before dinner, so we asked if we could get Fiji bottled water to go for them and the bartender was happy to oblige.We took Lyft back to the Mirage I think and headed to bed.
Friday morning we were up pretty early and took Lyft to the Peppermill for breakfast. Gotta love the tacky wonderfulness that is inside the Peppermill.
We both had the basic breakfasts with our respective egg preparations. The hash browns are really the best in Vegas right now, in my opinion.
After breakfast we walked over to the Ross store next door, but didn't find anything exciting.
holiday scene in the Mirage atrium

We headed back to the Mirage and packed up our stuff, grabbed a Lyft and moved to the Golden Nugget downtown.
We got to use the VIP check-in as John booked a Rush Club level room. Though it did not end up being a super fast check in place as some ladies were having issues and we had to wait a bit for the attendant to sort them out.

Not sure I loved the new shower doors. Drafty to say the least. 
The Rush Tower room was nice, and you do not have to pay resort fees, but I think a regular Rush room is just as nice.

nice strip view from our room

After setting into the room, we went down to the El Cortez, I think John setup his sports betting app there and made some bets. We played some blackjack as well, but I'm pretty sure it went badly for me anyway. We played a few slots at The D, I did have a nice Top Dollar win and we decided to have lunch at American Coney.

The food is solid and we had some comps from the D and Golden Gate to use, so it was free. After lunch, we walked over to Main Street Station to play video poker at Boars Head bar. No wins to report, not even a four of a kind, though I think John had one.

We stopped back to the room to change clothes for the evening and decided to stop at Banger Brewing for a beer. It was still warm enough to sit outside and watch people weigh themselves at Heart Attack Grill.
We had drinks at Park on Fremont, my Moscow mule was excellent. We enjoyed sitting on the patio and watching everyone on Fremont parade by.
We finally tried Second Street Grill at the Fremont Casino for dinner and waiting this long to try it was a mistake! The food was excellent as so was the service! I had the Miso yaki glazed butter fish with baby bok choy and vegetable fried rice.
 John had the ribeye
Everything was excellent and we will be going back again soon. 
Here's a few snazzy neon pics I posted to Instagram as well! 

After dinner we headed to the Golden Gate for a blackjack session. Pretty sure we stayed up way too late, but we had a fun time!
Saturday morning, we tried to go to the Cafe at The Cal, but the line was super long, so we went to Hash House at the Plaza instead. John had the basic breakfast.
I had ONE pancake. And I ate maybe  quarter of it. The portions are just way too huge at Hash House. Seriously!

After breakfast I went over to the premium outlet mall as my Bose headphones quit working. I was able to exchange them for a new pair, so that was great! John played slots at the Golden Nugget while I was away.
We had lunch at Pizza Rock, excellent as always and then we played video poker at Main Street for awhile.
We decided to take a field trip to Frankie's Tiki Room as it had been a few years since our last visit I think. I got this tiki to ad to the collection.
We also stopped at Tenaya Creek brewing. I had the P-90K Hefeweizen, which was brewed with beets and mandarin. It was actually quite fruity and tasty- who knew beets turned into good beer?! Lyft and Uber make visiting these out of the way places so much easier and fun for everyone.
We went to Carson Kitchen for dinner. We had to wait a little while for a table, but not too long. I had the shrimp and antebellum grits, and they were amazing too.
turkey burger for John with tots

After dinner, we went to the Golden Gate for blackjack and I don't think we had great results, as we ended up going over to the Plaza to play for awhile too. The dealers and other players were fun and I think we did pretty well too. Ended up staying up later than we should have....

Sunday morning we went to The D Grill for breakfast. Basic breakfast for John and I again.

The sourdough toast was decent.
After breakfast, we went to the Downtown Events Center to check out the area and the football games on the big screen. It is a nice area and the amazing weather helped. After that I went over to the Container Park to get some chocolates at Jin Ju.The container park is still plugging along, though there are quite a few open retail spaces.
We had a food credit that came with our room, so we had lunch at Cadillac Mexican Kitchen at the Golden Nugget and watched some football at the same time.
tacos al carbon
ahi tuna tacos

After lunch we played slots at the Golden Nugget for awhile and then went over to the Golden Gate and I had a killer blackjack session, I even quit when I was way ahead. Will wonders never cease?  After that we played slots at The D and video poker at the El Co as we were waiting for a football game to finish so John could collect on a couple sports bets. We were starving by the time the games ended and we had already decided on Oscar's for dinner.
John had the spilotro steak
brussels sprouts
Carolyn cut prime rib

Oscar's was just OK on this visit, not as great as our first visit for some odd reason. Maybe because it was later in the evening or it was a slow night, I am not sure. After dinner we called it a night as we had to get up super early for our flight home.
Our last breakfast was a Magnolia's at the Four Queens. Basic breakfast for me. Magnolia's is probably our current downtown breakfast favorite since DuPar's closed. Still miss that place a lot and hope something goes into the Golden Gate soon though. 
The sourdough toast is still great! 
pancakes for John

We had a great trip even though I feel like not a lot of winning happened this time. We did try a few new bars and restaurants and enjoyed all of them. I'd say Second Street Grill was probably the standout favorite and we will certainly be heading back there on a future trip. The weather was fantastic and we are already looking forward to our next trip sometime in 2018.